All of us are saddled with a certain amount of stress in our lives. But, most of us are lucky enough to not have to worry about where our next meal is coming from. That doesn’t mean that child hunger isn’t a problem in the United States, since the stats are still quite alarming.
Feeding America reports that back in 2014, 69% of Americans had to make a choice between food and utilities, like electricity and heat. A lot of us have also tried hard to make our food last longer — 40% admitted to watering down food or beverages, which may also water down the nutritional value. For young children, hunger can also lead to health issues like aggression and anxiety, since food is quite capable of changing our moods.
So, it’s inspiring that one grandmother faced a particularly embarrassing situation when it came to her family. She entered Frenchy’s Chicken in Houston, Texas back in 2018 with a small child, and when it came time to order, she asked if she could privately talk to the manager. Despite the crowd at the restaurant, Ahmed Elmadhoun came out to talk to her and literally made her day.
Elmadhoun said that the situation itself wasn’t very typical, which made this woman stand out from his other customers.
She came in on a Wednesday, which was normally a day for special pricing.
According to UpliftingToday, Frenchy’s offers up a two-piece fried chicken special on Wednesdays, which come with sides.
That’s a deal that’s hard to miss, meaning that Wednesday is one of the most popular days for the restaurant, which specializes in Louisiana Creole food. Elmadhoun could have easily made her wait, or could have shrugged off the interaction — but, he didn’t. He made her a priority and listened to what she had to say.
She confided in Elmadhoun that she actually had 10 grandchildren in her care.
But, she didn’t have the money for even a piece of chicken.
One wouldn’t have properly fed the hungry family no matter what. The woman knew she was taking a gamble, but likely knew that she’d rather ask than risk starvation. Eternally Sunny reported that the story really tugged at Elmadhoun’s heartstrings. At that moment, it wasn’t about the money — it was about helping someone else in need.
Elmadhoun noted to KHOU11 that he could tell she was embarrassed by asking.
She was also willing to give up some of her essential identification, probably to prove she wasn’t scamming him.
“For someone to offer to give me her ID, her social security card, and she had a little girl with her,” Elmadhoun said to the news outlet. “She was really going through a tough time. She was pretty embarrassed. I said, ‘Don’t. We all go through tough times.'” That sense of understanding went a long way.
He told her that the ID wasn’t needed, and did what he did best.
He went into the kitchen and made the needy family quite the feast.
A lot of managers who heard this story would either tell the woman that she’s out of luck, or give her the bare minimum to get by. But, not Elmadhoun. He went above and beyond and made sure she got a lot of chicken to help feed her family. “She was so relieved,” he admitted to KHOU.
But, it wasn’t just chicken.
He also threw in some warm sides, and special desserts for the kids.
Elmadhoun briefly chatted with the girl who was accompanying the woman, and she made a special request — lemon cake. So, the manager made sure to include that in the bag of food, as a special treat. Without a doubt, he went above and beyond for this family, making sure they had a meal to remember.
Elmadhoun also made her know he was available.
This may not have just been a one-time deal.
“I told her if you’re ever in that situation again, just come back and see me,” Elmadhoun said. “We’re here for you.” Even if the woman chooses not to take him up on the offer, surely it meant a lot to know that her and her family had a bit of local support. Knowing that they had a way to battle severe hunger likely made their situation a lot less stressful.
When you feel alone, those words mean a lot.
Asking for help can be very difficult.
And, so many people in this world are struggling without it. It’s unknown if this woman tried other restaurants first, or just got lucky with Frenchy’s — but, Elmadhoun’s kindness made the news for a reason. He did a good deed that these kids would never forget about, and had no problem footing the bill for a family in need.
Another customer at Frenchy’s saw everything go down.
Lowe Petties and her husband Andre were reportedly at the location when this happened.
They told UpliftingNews that the woman initially asked Elmadhoun if she could pay him back the next day, when she was expecting to get her tax return. She was just looking for one meal for the granddaughter who was with her. And, that’s why she offered to leave her ID — as proof that she would be back, and would make good on her promise.
That inspired Lowe and Andre to help as well.
They reportedly chipped in to buy the woman some gas.
Lowe also helped make the manager’s good deed go viral, proving that there are incredible people out there willing to help. According to the couple, Elmadhoun told the woman that it wasn’t just about being hungry later, as he made it seem. They stated that he said, “if you get hungry tomorrow, come back.” Those words are even more emotional.
This story might inspire you to make a difference, as well.
Next time you’re out, take a look at your surroundings.
There may not be people inside talking to the manager, but there may be people outside hoping someone would be kind enough to buy them a sandwich, or lend them a few dollars. If you’ve been trained to think that everyone is scamming you, try to open up a little. There are legitimate people out there in need who can’t even afford a chicken meal.
Remember, their life choices may not have caused hunger.
Instead, it could be due to the situation.
Who knows if this grandmother was always in charge of raising all of her grandkids? Perhaps they tragically lost a loved one who was helping them financially survive. Or, maybe they were scammed in the process of trying to make their lives better. No matter what, it’s a situation a lot of us could find ourselves in, if just a few brief life events took place.
There are other ways you can help.
Feeding America aims to help families in need.
They offer ways to donate financially, as well as information on how to start a food drive. Food drives are meant to help out your individual community, so the organization will help you find your local food bank to get more support. Speaking of, volunteers are always needed at food banks, and there are usually a bunch of different opportunities.
If you’ve never volunteered before, it’s one of the best decisions you can make.
Even if you have a packed schedule, organizations are often flexible.
By volunteering for a cause like ending hunger, you expand your view on the world and help make a difference simply by spreading the information you learn. It’s a much better use of your time than sitting on the couch with Netflix — and as an added bonus, you’ll get to meet others in your community.
It’s unclear if Elmadhoun ever saw this particular woman again.
Hopefully, she was able to change things around and find resources for her family.
That proves that sometimes just one kind gesture can change things around for someone. A lot of needy people just need a random act of kindness to get their feet off the ground. No matter what, it’s safe to assume that this woman took everything that was given to her that day and made the most out of it.
Fingers crossed that other managers are inspired by Elmadhoun’s story.
He didn’t mean to go viral, but it might be a good thing that he did.
The best part about this story is that Elmadhoun didn’t mean to make headlines. He did this due to his big heart. If a restaurant or fast food manager happens to be in a similar situation, hopefully, they’ll be inspired to also present a meal that could really be a gamechanger. It’s a shame that so many people out there are still struggling to eat, but with kindness and hard work, we can help eradicate the problem together.